ESPN’s Malika Andrews called foul on remarks from sports commentator Stephen A. Smith during a tense exchange on his popular show First Take. Smith has shared strong views on his frustration about the suspension of Ime Udoka, the Boston Celtics head coach who will miss the entire 2022-23 season after it was revealed he had a consensual relationship with a team staffer.
On Thursday, he vehemently concluded that is was unfair to suspend Udoka, who is currently engaged to actress Nia Long, while not suspending the unnamed woman he had an affair with. Then on Friday, he doubled down on his remarks stating: “only he is in violation of the company policy? The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?”
After his rant, Andrews phoned in to refute his argument. “Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews challenged. “What became apparent to me in this press conference is that we do not have all the information here. It was frustrating, to me, that the Celtics declined to elaborate or give more specifics about what exactly the rule-breaking was that led us to this point.”
She continued: “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”
To defend his position, Smith, who appeared visibly flustered expressed discontent by stating: “First of all, let me be very clear. I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” said Smith. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”
As he continued his argument, Andrews attempted to interrupt his remarks but he pounced back: “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you. You’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”